Skeptic Schism | Issue 7

Skeptic Schism | Issue 7

Star Signs

The most controversial Facebook post I’ve ever written was one that said: “I can’t believe how many of my friends who would never judge someone based on their race, gender or sexuality are happy to make massive, sweeping, shameless assumptions about people based on the month they are born in.” This post was followed by a tirade of comments that accused me of not understanding the nuances of astrology and the skill behind drawing up star-charts, and emphasising my arrogance for criticising something I didn’t understand.

Astrology is a fucking pre-Copernican system. It comes from a time when we thought that the Earth was the centre of the solar system. Copernicus risked torture and execution for his theory that the Earth goes round the Sun. Show him some respect and ditch the astrology.

I have had to fill in my star sign on a job application form. I have had a virtual stranger tell me that my boyfriend and I were compatible because we had complementary star signs. (We had been together for three years.) I’ve had a pregnant woman tell me she was hoping her baby would be born a week after its due date so that it would be a Pisces instead of an Aquarius.

I think we should look at people who believe in star signs in a similar way to how we look at other bigots. I’ve been told that, being a Taurus, I am almost certainly gluttonous, stubborn and unimaginative. If you don’t think this is offensive, try replacing “Taurean” with “Korean”. “Being Korean, you are almost certainly gluttonous, stubborn and unimaginative.” How does that sound? The answer is it sounds unmistakably, unforgivably, disgustingly racist. And also eye-suckingly crazy. If you judge a person by their star-sign, you are signist. If you say someone is “balanced, for a Gemini”, you are signist. If you say, “I’ve been out with three Aquarians and they were all nuts”, you are signist.

But, astrologers would argue, your sun sign is only part of it. True astrologers recognise that you need a map of the solar system to determine the character of a person. Even then the person’s fate is not set, as they can recognise their character and work to change it. That sounds like being a human. Why can’t we just get to know people, learn from our mistakes and try to be better? What do we need astrology for? And why do people keep asking each other what their fucking star sign is?
This article first appeared in Issue 7, 2015.
Posted 2:51pm Sunday 12th April 2015 by Wee Doubt.